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Roots Are Thirsty — and Smart! What You Need to Know About Tree Root Intrusion


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In Seattle and Tacoma, the change of seasons can mean potentially messy plumbing issues caused by good old Mother Nature.

We’re talking about tree roots infiltrating pipes and causing sewer system backups.

Roots are amazing things. Their mission to keep trees alive leads them to grow and travel in search of water, and they don’t let anything stand in their way. Roots can grow as big as seven times the height of a tree, and they’ll blast through the joints — or the sides — of underground pipes. This not only causes significant damage to your sewer line but also creates a nasty clog that affects your indoor plumbing.

Here’s everything you need to know about tree root intrusion and what you can do about it!

Understanding Tree Root Intrusion

Tree root intrusion is a process where tree roots penetrate and grow into your sewer pipes, causing blockages and damage to your sewer system. These intrusions can lead to slow drains, sewage backups, and costly repairs if not addressed promptly. Tree roots are naturally attracted to the moisture and nutrients found in sewer pipes, making them a prime target for root growth.

Why Tree Roots Target Sewer Pipes

Tree roots continue to grow in search of water and nutrients, and your sewer system provides an ideal environment for them. The warm, nutrient-rich wastewater in the pipes attracts tree roots, which can then penetrate through tiny cracks and joints in the sewer pipes. Once inside, the roots continue to grow and expand, causing even more damage to your sewer system.

Identifying Tree Root Intrusion

Some common signs of tree root intrusion in your sewer line include:

  • Slow drains: If you notice your sinks, bathtubs, or toilets draining slowly, it may be due to tree roots clogging your sewer pipes.
  • Frequent clogs: Frequent clogs in your plumbing system can also be a sign of tree roots in your sewer line.
  • Sewage backups: Tree root intrusion can cause sewage to back up into your home, creating a health hazard and unpleasant odors.

If you suspect tree root intrusion, it’s crucial to contact a professional plumber immediately to assess the situation and provide a solution.

Ready to Make the Change? Call Harts Services!

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Killing a Tree Root: DIY Methods vs. Professional Help

While there are some DIY methods for killing a tree root, such as using rock salt, Epsom salt, or chemical herbicides, these approaches can be dangerous and often ineffective. Drilling holes into the root system and filling them with these substances might kill the tree roots, but it could also damage your sewer pipes further and harm the environment. Moreover, these methods might not completely kill the tree roots, allowing them to regrow and cause more problems in the future.

The safest and most effective way to deal with tree root intrusion is to call a professional plumber. They have the necessary tools, knowledge, and experience to diagnose and resolve the issue without causing further damage to your sewer system.

Preventing Tree Root Intrusion

To prevent root intrusion, consider the following steps:

  • Regular sewer maintenance: Schedule regular sewer cleaning in Tacoma, WA, to keep your pipes clear of debris and identify potential tree root problems early.
  • Tree removal: If you have trees growing too close to your sewer line, consider tree removal to prevent future root intrusions.
  • Install root barriers: Installing root barriers around your sewer pipes can help prevent tree roots from growing into them.
  • Replace old pipes: Older cast iron or clay pipes are more susceptible to root intrusion. Consider sewer replacement in Tacoma, WA, with modern materials like PVC or HDPE, which are more resistant to root growth.

Dealing With Tree Stumps and Freshly Cut Trees

If you’ve recently removed a tree, you may be left with a tree stump that still has a living root system. To kill a tree stump and prevent root intrusion, it’s best to consult a professional who can safely and effectively address the issue.

Dealing With Tree Root Intrusions? Call Harts!

Now that you know how to spot a potential tree root situation before it wreaks havoc on your home, call Harts Services for a full video inspection of your sewer system!

Our team of experts will visit your property and perform a professional video inspection, running a camera down your sewer lines to get a clear picture of what’s going on down there. Whatever blockages we spot, whether it’s tree roots, corrosion, or sediment buildup, we can decide whether high-pressure hydro-jetting will fix the issue or if other repairs are needed.

If tree roots have completely broken through the lines, we can replace your sewer piping. Swapping older, clay tile pipes out for PVC, which is harder for roots to penetrate, could be a suitable option to prevent issues in the future. We will be able to give you a professional recommendation based on the results of our video camera inspection.

Don’t let tree roots mess up your plans! Schedule a free video camera inspection in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and the surrounding areas for your peace of mind. Contact us for an appointment by filling out a contact form or calling 253-331-1206 today.

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We’re a local company proudly providing affordable sewer and pipe repairs, installations, and maintenance to help make our community a more comfortable place for all.


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